I Envision A World Where Everyone Can Lead Healthy and Productive Lives

As a candidate for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director General position, to be voted on in May at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Dr. Tedros believes in a world where everyone can lead healthy and productive lives regardless of who they are or where they live.

The scientific, technological and social progress over the last century has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. The World Health Organization (WHO) has played a crucial role in this progress — achieving major milestones including eradicating smallpox and bringing polio eradication within reach. During the Millennium Development Goal era, WHO also drove tremendous progress towards combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and reducing maternal, child and infant mortality. Thanks to the actions of WHO, more people are living longer, healthier lives than ever before.

However, we live in a changing world, and WHO must be able to change with it. For all the progress we have made and improvements we have witnessed, daunting challenges — new and old — lie ahead. Climate and environmental change pose new threats. Unhealthy lifestyles are giving rise to non-communicable diseases that imperil public health. Globalization has made it easy for infectious disease pathogens to spark pandemics that threaten lives and economic security. Antimicrobial resistance is threatening our ability to effectively treat common diseases and infections, and widespread population movements, global trade and inequities in access to basic health care and social protection are leading to complex global health challenges.

I envision a world in which everyone can lead healthy and productive lives, regardless of who they are or where they live. I believe the global commitment to sustainable development — enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals — offers a unique opportunity to address the social, economic and political determinants of health and improve the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.

Achieving this vision will require a strong, effective WHO that is able to meet emerging challenges and achieve the health objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals. It will require revitalized WHO leadership that combines the public health, diplomatic and political expertise needed to address the most pressing challenges of our time.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is former minister for health, Ethiopia, and is a candidate for the upcoming election of the next Director General of the World Health Organization. The election will take place May 23rd at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

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You can read more about Dr. Tedros and his vision for a healthy world and the World Health Organization at his website: http://www.drtedros.com/ and follow along the campaign for #NextDG on social media at Facebook: Facebook.com/DrTedros.Official and on Twitter at @DrTedros. Sign up for the campaign’s newsletter `From the Desk of Dr. Tedros’ at http://bit.ly/2nGWtLm.